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Waldo Prepares for the Final Level


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I'll be working on thoughts and goals for a bit, but I wanted to get a challenge thread up and running.

 

I'm now about 9 months into my latest epic quest for teh abz and closing in on the home stretch; but before I push on to try to beat the game I'm going to need to take a break to rest and recover; the final level is hard, I'm going to need a full health bar and need to clear all status effects first.  I need to take a diet break and deload a bit on the workouts; then I need to pull out of that diet break and enter the final level.

 

My starting point in my epic quest for teh abz was 237 lbs last spring.  I believe my ending weight target will be 195 lbs.

  • The first phase I did a standard 2000 net cals/day goal linear diet and lost from 237 down to about 212.  I lost the pregnant belly and started fitting in all my old clothes, though I still had some spare tire.  But after a while the diet hormones started creeping up so I took a diet break.  Most people would have pressed on with goals seemingly so close, but I knew the end was further than it seemed and my body was legit starting to retaliate, which I recognized early.
  • The 2nd phase was a 3 month diet break.  I didn't intend at first for it to be that long, but I lost a lot of motivation and just couldn't get back on the diet horse consistently.  But I did maintain my loss just fine.
  • The 3rd phase was jolt of motivation and energy to pick the linear cut back up and bring myself into the flat stomach zone.  I'm just about at the end of this phase.
  • The 4th phase will be another diet break.  I will enter this phase soon, when the tape reaches 34" around my waist (34.5" currently).  This break is both going to be to reset diet hormones and to supercharge exercise recovery for a bit.
  • The 5th and final phase will be an undulating diet (3-1 or 4-1), going from lean to leaner and bringing out teh abz.

 

I'm going to be switching my class; I started my NF journey as an Assassin, switched to Warrior circa 2016 when I joined the work gym, but really I've always been a jack of all trades, so I should be a Ranger.  The classification system does miss my true intentions though; all the classes have competitions associated (powerlifting, crossfit games, 10K, etc..) with them, but the one competition I most optimize for, bodybuilding, has no NF class (I am not, by any means, a competitive bodybuilder).  I care more about how my pecs look than how much my bench is, I'd rather have washboard abs than a bar bending squat or fast 10k.  But I lift, do bodyweight moves, kickboxbox, spin, and run.

 

Goal #1 will be to execute the diet break.  Last time I took a diet break it didn't go so well, with almost all elements having problems.  Executing the diet break means:

  • Complete the linear cut I am currently on.  My waist target is 34" on the tape (34.5" today).  Which means I still need to lose 2 more pounds of fat, which I expect to take 2 weeks (diet changes are usually made on Mondays).  No starting my diet break early.
  • Raise my calories to slightly more than maintenance (which means definitely stay under 3000 calories net each day).  Stay there for 3 weeks.  I think both sides will be a struggle, I'll need to be mindful to keep the calories up, but also to not eat all the things and go overboard.  The duration selection is not arbitrary, I want to keep to the 3 week plan.
  • End the diet break and return to cutting.  This is where I failed last time and where the biggest risk is.  But I expect to be back to cutting by the end of the challenge, and doing so with the motivation to beat the game.  Newly reset diet hormones, a 34" waist, and a trained body with a caught up exercise recovery system is a triangle of power to dominate the final level and boss.

 

While I have been really nailing it in the gym lately, cutting when lean and nailing it in the gym are not generally compatible concepts.  I'm still riding beginner gains from getting back in the swing of things, but I can tell my body is running a recovery deficit and its beginning to catch up to me.  Muscles are extra sore, tendons are grumpy.  I'm nursing a bunch of aches and pains and just seem to keep adding new ones.  I've been hitting it hard for the last 6 weeks, its getting to be about time for a deload week, which will be the final week of this cut, where I back off the volume and start a new workout cycle.  The longer 3 week diet break is intended not just to normalize hormone levels, but to let my body's recovery catch up; increased cals greatly accelerates recovery.

 

Goal #2 will be recovery.  Which means I need to push back on my natural sense to eek out that last rep or do another set; I need to start thinking about RPE's so I'm mindful of how hard to go.  I also need to work a deload week in my workout plan.  This is a 2 part goal.

  • Execute a deload week.
  • Track RPE's of my work sets.   Things tracked get thought about, which leads to making better choices.

 

As some of you know, one of my main hobbies is woodworking.  I've been working on a project, a pair of tower speakers, for close to a year and I'm still a long ways away.  I need to pick up the pace.  My gym slacking, which was an issue in the last few years that I addressed last challenge, is/has become shop slacking (which I'm doing before I work out basically every day).  The macro solution is easy enough, get in the shop earlier so I accomplish more.  Getting in the shop earlier means peeling away from computer time earlier, whether I'm gaming, shopping, or just surfing the net.  But I also need to work on prioritizing schedule when I am working in the shop to keep the pace up.  Excessive computer time bleeding into hobby and fitness time has been a struggle for years, its time to really address this root issue.

 

Goal #3 will be time management.  This likewise is a 2 part goal:

  • Be in my shop by 930 each night.  That gives me an hour of shop time a day (workouts start at 1030).
  • Complete at least 2 layers a week on speaker #2 (10 total)

 

IMG_20220208_215158.jpg.2a438dcb31ff7761888b637e82a49b0d.jpg

 

I'm making a massive stack lamination of a fairly complex shape (same cross section the whole way though); the design is super cool (at least I think it is) and its really enjoyable woodworking, but the overall effort is totally obscene and in hindsight I'm not sure I'd try something like this again just because of the extreme effort involved.  Each layer is 3/4" thick cut from baltic birch plywood, and 4 pieces comprise each layer, with the two sides needing to be cut on the bandsaw then adjusted for tight joints, then routed and sanded after gluing.  Its become a forever project even though I do work on it almost every day (several hundred hours sunk into it already). Really I'd like to hit 3 layers a week, that is my real goal, but I don't think I'll even get close, 2 layers is at least achievable.  There's a lot of gluing time that challenges my shop time management.

 

 

 

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currently cutting

battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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As an aside, thealienthing, I skimmed through Bigger, Leaner, Stronger last night - looks pretty cool! I wouldn't take the 'you must use free weights because they're better than anything else', or the 'bulk/cut is the key to obtaining the ideal physique' stuff TOO seriously though. Just a personal bias: I dislike bulk/cut cycles, since they essentially look like yoyo dieting, and can sometimes have unexpected side effects long term (Weight cycling of athletes and subsequent weight gain in middleage - PubMed (nih.gov)). And while free weights are AWESOME, the best resistance training is the kind that you enjoy and can stick with long-term. Be sure to give yourself permission to experiment a bit too, and figure out what works well for YOUR needs. There is a ton of good info on that book though, looks like a fun resource to refer to!

 

Quote from thealienthing's thread that I want to respond to here.

 

I wrote about this a lot time ago when I had my blog, but its worth writing about again here.

 

I think it is our natural state to bulk.  Most people, when stripped of most inhibitions when it comes to food, will settle on a slow but steady gain.  Introducing periodic scarcity is as paleo as dieting gets; a lack of periodic scarcity is a very new thing for humans, and really, a first we've pulled off in the animal world.  Going hungry for a while every now and then is normal and how our bodies were designed to function.

 

Purposely restricting calories every now and then is something that nearly 100% of westerners will do at some point in their lives.  We are still in the infancy of culturally adapting to a zero food scarcity society, only a few generations in.  I think it is one of our jobs as parents of the next generation to try to advance our culture when it comes to eating and exercise, to pass on that this is just what people do.  Dieting is part of life and easy to do when you have a lot of experience and confidence in what your doing, its just a matter of summoning motivation; when exercise, both cardio and strength training, are regularly part of your life, pumping some more motivation out of the well isn't a big issue. 

 

I think one of the big mistakes a lot of people make, which sets them up for failure, is the belief that there is some sort of of steady end state and that just with the right control system you just ride that wave.  Because most of that thinking is the B side to "just this once and I never have to diet again."  Whereas I think its totally a good thing to embrace the idea that I'm going to be dieting next year, and the year after, and the year after, etc..  Hopefully not very long, but w/e, its coming, that's fine.  People losing weight in the winter has been a thing as long as people have been a thing. 

 

Exercise-wise I think its so much less important what you do than that you do.  And this goes for both strength and cardio.  If you don't stick with something, make sure that means you moved on to something else.  We are not meant to not move, as the start of the pandemic drove home for so many.  A regular workout schedule that you can stick to every day is super important (incl planned rest, which differs greatly from ad hoc rest), what it is you do will evolve with your interests if you stay interested in exercise.  If anything variety helps to ensure that you do, things can get stale.

 

I don't think I'm going crazy when I think back to what it was like when I was young; nowadays there are way, way more fit people.  When I was a kid there were actually a fair number of no exercise not fat people.  Not uncommonly smokers as well.  But the number of people who visibly exercise, with muscle tone from strength training and obvious cardio fitness has risen drastically since last century, plus its basically how almost everyone on TV appears these days.  Each generation has gotten better at this than the one before.

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currently cutting

battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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A couple changes I've made since the end of the last challenge:

- My weight has been dropping like a rock.  Whoosh.  I just got below the low point (208.0) I had reached a couple times but never passed last week, which I was feeling good about.  Got down to 207.2 at the lowest point near the end of last challenge.  I thought my weight was in the 207 area.  Sunday I was 205.6.  203.2 last night.  Wow.

 

In my challenge wrap up I noted that though the scale only showed 4 lbs of weight loss, the tape showed 8 lbs of fat loss.  Which I was pretty stoked about because that meant LBM (re)gain.  My waist has been large for a given weight, compared to what I used to be at (which means I've lost muscle mass).  But by the end of the challenge it was back to about where I expected, so whew, not so much LBM loss.  Yeah no.

 

I've always been pretty ironclad in the belief that the tape doesn't lie, the scale does.  But.. Just This One Time™ I had fooled myself into thinking that I was that special case that gains LBM and loses fat simultaneously because I had the conditions right.

 

When I measured myself on 1/3 my waist was 36.5" and I weighed 211.2 that day (a very normal day for that time frame, not an outlier)

When I measured myself on 2/8 my waist was 34.5" and I weighed 203.2 that day, which I whooshed down to.

 

I've always known my body to have a 1/4" on the waist to 1 lb of fat mass on the scale.  But, this is an old personal rule of thumb I haven't actually run the numbers on in more than 5 years.  Nailed it exactly.  The tape doesn't lie and can call out the scale on its BS.  I should have listened better.

 

- I've been on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslit hunting for steel hex DBs and managed to find pairs of 40, 45, and 50 in the last few days.  Which means I only need a pair of 30's to have a full set 15-50.  I'm switching my Friday overhead pressing to dumbbells and am going to try to find some other uses as well.  I'm probably going to need more weight pretty soon (going up in weight in DB's is hella expensive, lol), but for now they will do.

 

I've never had a good way to overhead press in the basement gym.  I have no good walls for handstands, not enough space for handstand pushups, and not enough room for standing barbell overhead pressing.  Kneeling or seated barbell overhead pressing have been my only options, and neither my back nor my shoulders loves either.  When I used to work out in the gym at work I switched to machine ohp from the barbell because my shoulders liked it much better.  I'm not sure why I never used the dumbbells for it.

 

I guess a part of me has always been a dumbbell hater; well not always, since early in my weight loss days, fall of 2011, around when I joined NF.  I used them to weight pistols for a very long time, but that wasn't because I wanted to do a DB program, if I could have hit the barbell for my legs I would have.  My 15's and 25's are my oldest gym equipment.  But, dumbbell programming has always been something I ignored because of the impracticality for big lifts, and I've never been big on accessories.  I started with my DB's, bought a pair of 35's as I got a bit stronger, then needed more almost immediately and realized I would be spending a fortune to keep up squatting and deadlifting and rowing and benching dumbbells, so I switched to bodyweight work.  And I basically ignored them since for main programming, except for weighting pistols, step ups, pullups, and dips.  I did keep up DB overhead pressing until my 35's were too little, which was a smooth transition to handstands and the start of headstand pushup training.

 

It has been like a total revelation though.  Duh.  I've lifted in my home gym now for 3 years and never had a great answer for the overhead pressing issue.  I guess I always blocked it out because of the cost.  But, my wife uses the dumbbells a lot, so even if it gets a bit pricey just so I can overhead press well, they are more for her anyways.    I just have to find the 30's to finish the set.  A benefit of living in a large metropolis (Atlanta) is that there is a lot of used stuff around. 

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currently cutting

battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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The workout plan I'm going to follow is going to be the same plan I used last challenge (which has been the same general outline I've used most of the last decade) with some changes to exercise selection.  Lifting 4 days a week and an upper/lower split, kickboxing before leg days, 2 days of cardio, and a day of rest.

 

M: Kickboxing (~15 min on the heavy bag), Pistol Squats, Barbell Deadlifts

T: Barbell Bench Press, Ring Front Lever, EZ Bar Curl, DB Fly, DB Extension

W: Cardio (~30 min)

Th: Kickboxing (~15 min on the heavy bag), Pistol Squats, Barbell Front Squats

F: DB Overhead Press, Pullups, Weighted Dips, Weighted Pullups, L-Sit

S: Cardio (~30 min)

Su: Housework/Yardwork

 

Changes from last challenge; I replaced one arm pushups with the DB fly and extension on Tue, and I replaced the incline bench with DB Overhead Press on Fri.

 

Cardio has pretty much been spinning since the holidays as I really despise running in the cold (under 45 degress would rather be on the bike at home), but hopefully by the end of this challenge the weather will start warming up and outdoor running is back on the table.

currently cutting

battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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I found the pair of 30's I needed so now I have a full set of steel hex DB's 15-50 (I have 5's and 10's, but not steel hex).  Now I need a bigger rack, lol. 

 

I did that DB circuit in my plan on Tuesday, have some pretty good DOMs going on from it; that's good, hit some weaknesses that main lifts don't hit well.

  • Like 2

currently cutting

battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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On 2/7/2022 at 9:27 PM, Waldo said:

 

Quote from thealienthing's thread that I want to respond to here.

 

I wrote about this a lot time ago when I had my blog, but its worth writing about again here.

 

I think it is our natural state to bulk.  Most people, when stripped of most inhibitions when it comes to food, will settle on a slow but steady gain.  Introducing periodic scarcity is as paleo as dieting gets; a lack of periodic scarcity is a very new thing for humans, and really, a first we've pulled off in the animal world.  Going hungry for a while every now and then is normal and how our bodies were designed to function.

 

Purposely restricting calories every now and then is something that nearly 100% of westerners will do at some point in their lives.  We are still in the infancy of culturally adapting to a zero food scarcity society, only a few generations in.  I think it is one of our jobs as parents of the next generation to try to advance our culture when it comes to eating and exercise, to pass on that this is just what people do.  Dieting is part of life and easy to do when you have a lot of experience and confidence in what your doing, its just a matter of summoning motivation; when exercise, both cardio and strength training, are regularly part of your life, pumping some more motivation out of the well isn't a big issue. 

 

I think one of the big mistakes a lot of people make, which sets them up for failure, is the belief that there is some sort of of steady end state and that just with the right control system you just ride that wave.  Because most of that thinking is the B side to "just this once and I never have to diet again."  Whereas I think its totally a good thing to embrace the idea that I'm going to be dieting next year, and the year after, and the year after, etc..  Hopefully not very long, but w/e, its coming, that's fine.  People losing weight in the winter has been a thing as long as people have been a thing. 

 

Exercise-wise I think its so much less important what you do than that you do.  And this goes for both strength and cardio.  If you don't stick with something, make sure that means you moved on to something else.  We are not meant to not move, as the start of the pandemic drove home for so many.  A regular workout schedule that you can stick to every day is super important (incl planned rest, which differs greatly from ad hoc rest), what it is you do will evolve with your interests if you stay interested in exercise.  If anything variety helps to ensure that you do, things can get stale.

 

I don't think I'm going crazy when I think back to what it was like when I was young; nowadays there are way, way more fit people.  When I was a kid there were actually a fair number of no exercise not fat people.  Not uncommonly smokers as well.  But the number of people who visibly exercise, with muscle tone from strength training and obvious cardio fitness has risen drastically since last century, plus its basically how almost everyone on TV appears these days.  Each generation has gotten better at this than the one before.

I remember you talking about this before. It was one of those things that made me think, and I've been sort of  paying attention to that thought  and seeing if I thought it applied to how it worked for me. I  think you have  a really good point.  For most people, we don't have to worry about where our next meal comes from.Which is great, but now we need to adapt our thinking to that. When I try and just eat intuitively,, to about where I feel full, I end up with a small, steady weight gain. Some of it muscle, some fat.  Which often leads me to thing I'm doing it wrong. But, I see your point, about just taking some time each year for a bit of eating less. It used to be people ate less in the winter out of necessity, now we just sort of have to work at it. 

Wisdom 22.5   Dexterity 13   Charisma 15   Strength 21  Constitution-13

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind' Luke 10; 27

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I did a waist check this morning and I'm already at 34 1/8"; its basically a lock that next week will be my final week of cutting before I start the diet break.  My compliance has been very good lately, its not been uncommon to leave some or all of my workout cals on the table for my daily goal.  But, being hungry when I'm not supposed to be hungry is getting stronger.

 

I made a collage of 3 different views of my weight history in MFP that overall do a good job showing where I'm at.

 

pixlr_20220212204955619.jpg.2cdb13c909a09a123fc979165e081146.jpg

 

This current cut, which has been on going since the holidays, its place within this larger overall weight loss effort in the past year (you can clearly see where my last diet break went sideways), and my whole history (2011-present)

 

Comparing where I'm at now to where I was in the past, looking up records in MFP and old logs here, I've unlocked a totally forgotten memory.  That big cut in the middle, which I thought was when I first joined the gym at work, was actually a whole year later.  Things got a a bit out of hand that winter; bulking without lifting hard.  In part because we found out we were having our 3rd.  That big cut ends 3 days before he's born.  Things are sort of a blur around then and I have scant records of any kind to go on but my weight in MFP. (and usefully as well, I have waist measurements in MFP, got down to 31 1/4").  But I do remember now thinking at the hospital that I was leanest I'd ever been and noone but me would ever know or see it, even my wife (and I had, until recently, totally forgotten as well).  I never took a selfie for some reason.  I hadn't been to the pool on a weekend (when other people are there) since earlier in the summer.  New mom would rather dad have clothes on.

 

I gained a lot of baby weight with #3 after he was born.  Both of the big gaps correspond to babies (we're done at 3 boys, #1 was born shortly before I joined MFP).  Its taken a long time to really get back into the swing of things since #3; working out at work basically collapsed, it was never the same afterwards and I could never find that groove after returning from time off.  Of course the pandemic has caused a total reconstruction of movement and diet patterns; early on did not go well at all.

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currently cutting

battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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On 2/7/2022 at 7:27 PM, Waldo said:

I think one of the big mistakes a lot of people make, which sets them up for failure, is the belief that there is some sort of of steady end state and that just with the right control system you just ride that wave.  

 

Tucking this away for reflection.

 

And I'm going to follow this thread for a different perspective on diet and losing weight than my own rather neurotic one. :) 

Reading Challenge Thread 2022

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scalyfreak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29; Ch 30; Ch 31; Ch 32; Ch 33; Ch 34; Ch 35; Ch 36; Ch 37; Ch 38

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On 2/12/2022 at 8:02 PM, Elastigirl said:

I remember you talking about this before. It was one of those things that made me think, and I've been sort of  paying attention to that thought  and seeing if I thought it applied to how it worked for me. I  think you have  a really good point.  For most people, we don't have to worry about where our next meal comes from.Which is great, but now we need to adapt our thinking to that. When I try and just eat intuitively,, to about where I feel full, I end up with a small, steady weight gain. Some of it muscle, some fat.  Which often leads me to thing I'm doing it wrong. But, I see your point, about just taking some time each year for a bit of eating less. It used to be people ate less in the winter out of necessity, now we just sort of have to work at it. 

 

Until like 2-3 generations ago, gaining a little extra in times of plenty was living healthy.  Now all times are times of plenty.

 

1 hour ago, Scaly Freak said:

 

Tucking this away for reflection.

 

And I'm going to follow this thread for a different perspective on diet and losing weight than my own rather neurotic one. :) 

 

Ideally there would be no weight loss, just fat loss, but that ideal world doesn't exist unfortunately, lol.

 

*******

 

I was thinking about how to adjust my diet when I switch to maintenance for a bit.  I think it might be a good idea to start a set of cutting meals that I don't otherwise eat.  Lately I've been making pastrami on rye sandwiches for lunch on weekdays; I could eat one every day TBH.  Deli pastrami is kinda pricy, but its great for 1/2 sandwiches (which are rather low cal).  There are plenty of foods I don't eat when I'm cutting (or severely restrict), might be nice to have a bit of the flipside too; some things I really like that I only eat when cutting.

 

Official Monday morning waist check in showed between 34.0" and 34.1".  Hopefully I'll have some extra credit by next week when I raise cals.

 

Kickboxing and Deadlifting on tap later tonight.

  • Like 1

currently cutting

battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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50 minutes ago, Waldo said:

Ideally there would be no weight loss, just fat loss

 

🤯

 

Reframing in progress.

Reading Challenge Thread 2022

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scalyfreak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29; Ch 30; Ch 31; Ch 32; Ch 33; Ch 34; Ch 35; Ch 36; Ch 37; Ch 38

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I was 203.6 on the scale last night.  I think there's a 201.x lurking out there before I raise cals (or just after, raising cals is a strong whoosh trigger if your body is holding one), its what the tape predicted the endpoint of this cut should be.

 

I got a new dumbell rack for the growing collection.  This one can hold a whole set 15-50 of hex, which is incidentally what I almost have, just need a pair of 30's (ordered them, but still waiting on delivery).  I'm working on a little holder on the ground for my bumper plates so I don't need to tie up valuable weight peg space with them.  I only use them for deadlifting so I'd rather roll them around anyways.

 

Per my challenge goals I'm starting to track RPE's of peak sets.  I'm going to use a pretty basic notation:

 

Warmup: nothing

RPE 7/8: -

RPE 9: +

RPE 10: *

Failure: F

 

Workout Log - 2.14.22
 

Kickboxing - 15 min, 157 bpm peak, 128 bpm avg

 

Pistol Squats - 7-/7-, 7-/7-,  8+/8+

Added a rep to my peak max.  I always do left leg first because right is stronger.

 

Fingertip Pushups - 5, 5, 5

These are starting to feel notably easier

 

Deadlifts

155 x 5

245 x 3

295 x 3+, 3+, 3-

Last two sets were belted (cranked it a bit tighter on the last set).  I used DOH grip only for the first rep at 295, switched to mixed after.

 

currently cutting

battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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I've been doing a lot of self reflecting lately, really motivateed by writing things out here.  I dislike framing it as where things went wrong, but its hard not to put some things in that bucket.

 

When it comes to strength training, why things atrophied so bad has been one of the items on my mind; I'm building back up to where I was years ago, but it isn't like I wasn't training since then.  Sure there are gaps, but they weren't long gaps.  Here I think two factors interacted to boost the potency of either issue; I stopped keeping a workout log and mentally gave up on getting stronger. 

 

Mentally giving up was not a moment but more of a process.  Missed workouts started sapping any hint of progress and I began to retreat to a simpler type of programming that was more maintain.  This started happening summer 2016.  Summer 2016 is also when I started playing Pokemon Go, which in hindsight was basically catastrophic to my fitness (I stopped playing that years ago though); I started skipping strength workouts to play and stopped running in any sustained way; most insidiously I started wasting way more time between sets.  I did get notably stronger at benching and pulling for the next year, but that's about when leg strength progress stopped.  I also started dropping work set volume down to 1-2.  I stopped caring about programming, just do the bare minimum.

 

I stopped keeping track of my workouts right around the start of the pandemic.  I'm not sure why I did, I was all about logging long ago, but that that too atrophied to the point where I just stopped bothering.  Workouts were about the same anyways, lots of half effort.  It actually feels like it was much longer ago than that.  The only exercise I seemingly tried on was the bench, even then volume was lacking.  Still I was putting 215 on the bar at the start of the pandemic, when I hit reset this Christmas I was only putting on 185; I never stopped doing workouts, I just stopped keeping track.

 

When I came back to NF I knew not keeping track of workouts was an issue.  Instead of going back to the good ol composition book I instead put up a white board on the wall.  Unfortunately though there is no history there, but it did get me back into the swing of it.  I started a new composition book on Sunday; I went back to the start of the year when I put all my workouts here and copied them into my new log and am taking tracking back to the log book.  On my to do list is to go back to some even older log books (the one I've been looking at covers 2016-2020, my whole lifting history), I remember some of my old log books being better managed.

 

The strength atrophy is also size atrophy.  The last time I was at a 34" waist when cutting, mid-May 2017, I weighed around 211, vs the 204 of today.  That's a lot of LBM loss.  I'm sure age plays a factor, but it shouldn't be that much.  Some of it I am (was) ok with.  I did stop working hard in the legs much moreso than the upper body in part because I was getting sick of problems finding pants that fit me (ah pre-pandemic problems where I needed more than 1 pair of pants, lol).  One day I was in an Old Navy and had figured out that there was not a pair of pants in the store that was not tight in my thighs or butt that didn't have a huge gap in the waist.  In hindsight I miss those problems.

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battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

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Changing to paper logs from the white board frees up a ton of white board space in the gym, which I'm going to put to use keeping track of as many PR's as I can.  I think it'll be very motivating to keep all my personal records up on the wall.

 

Its also a positive exercise to go through my logs and find my PR's.

 

For bench press thus far I have:

185 x ??? (still hunting for this one)

215 x 6 - 7/7/20

225 x 2 - 5/30/17

 

I think its worth it for big exercises to keep track of multiple weights.  When I did those 225 reps, I hadn't done more than 3 reps on the bench on a work set in many months; I may have actually been stronger in 2020 despite never putting 225 on the bar to try.

 

Workout Log - 2.15.22

 

Bench Press

135 x 10

185 x 5

205 x 4+, 4+, 4+

I've officially stalled out here, I think I'm going to need to raise cals to make any more bench progress. 

 

Ring Front Lever

Tuck Hold - 15

Tuck Row - 6+, 6+

Open Tuck Hold - 9, 10

I've never been able to keep track of RPEs on holds well.  Added a rep to the row sets.  I went back and forth between rows and open tuck holds sequencing-wise.

 

EZ Bar Curl

69 x 8, 8, 8

 

DB Fly

35 x 10, 10, 10

 

DB Overhead Extension

45 x 10, 10, 10

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Ran the tape around the waist this AM, 33.9".  1/8" of extra credit and counting.

 

I'm going to have company this weekend; the timing works out rather well given I'm starting a 3 week diet break and 1 week training deload next week.

 

Workout Log - 2.16.22

Spinning - 10.25 mi, 29 min, 139 bpm avg, 160 bpm peak

I'm ready to get back outside and run.  Spinning can get a bit monotonous.

 

Workout Log - 2.17.22

 

Kickboxing - 15 min, 129 bpm avg, 157 bpm peak

 

Pistol Squat

BW - 8+/8-

+30 - 4+/4-

Gained a rep on both sets vs last week. 

 

Front Squat

135 x 5

185 x 4-, 4-, 5+

Notable improvement vs last week.  Last 2 sets belted.

currently cutting

battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

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On 2/15/2022 at 9:27 AM, Waldo said:

raising cals is a strong whoosh trigger if your body is holding one


Huh. I’ve joked that ice cream was the secret to weight loss because my whoosh is always after I eat a pint of Ben & Jerries, but I thought it was a coincidence, not a thing.

“We might as well start where we are, use what we have and do what we can." – Caitlin Rivers

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Its totally a thing.  My lowest weight almost always comes after raising cals.

 

My parents were visiting this weekend, so while we kept active the whole time, I didn't do any dedicated exercise.  I maintained the deficit through the weekend and broke it today at lunch.  Afternoon snack time was almost a refeed tier carb jolt (went ham on some cookies), man I feel awesome.  It's one of life's great natural highs; a big leptin pulse when its been low for a while, evolving out of a sugar high.  Dinner will be relatively low cal though so I'm going to nail my target (2800 net cals) almost perfectly.  TBH I think I probably would have skipped logging food for the day were it not for my challenge, so that's a win.

 

Waist was 33.9" this morning.

 

I'm going to try to be extra good about logging cals this break.  I feel like I will have a tendency to undereat; I've been dieting or maintaining for the last year basically, its a habit at this point that I'll have to push back on a bit to be fully successful with the break.

 

Deload week this week workout-wise, I'm going to ease back a lot on the volume and try to heal up, including a week off the heavy bag.

 

For my time management goal I've managed to finish 3 layers since I posted that pic and have another that I should finish tomorrow.  Its been done moreso with extra credit time than via logging off the computer earlier, so though progress is good, its kind of cheating.

 

Workout Log - 2.18.22

 

Seated DB OHP

40: 10-

45: 9-

50: 8+

45: 10+

40: 12+

I added 2 reps vs last week.  My shoulders really like doing these, the positioning is strong and totally pain free.  I was going to wait until I made it to 10 reps at 50 to buy a set of bigger DB's, but I expect that to come rather quickly given the jump week to week, so I ordered a pair of 60's from Titan (they seem to have the best price period at the moment).  Above 50 I'm going to only add in increments of 10 and am switching to rubber; they are getting big enough that even with ribber floors, dropping or near dropping could damage the tile underneath.  They sure are getting expensive, though I don't expect to add too many more, the 70's will probably happen.  80's are a whole lot of training away.

 

Pullup

BW - 5, 16, 14, 13

+25 - 5+, 5+, 4+

I don't count rpes for amrap pullups.  Just looking back, I'm fairly close to as strong as I've ever been at pullups.  I haven't found my PR yet, however most of my old high rep sets were chinups, not pullups, which I don't do anymore due to weird nerve effects in the forearms.  Its tough to know PRs because body weight is a factor for pullups.  I've lost strength and size in many places, but not really with pullups; I managed to keep up a decent minimum workload with them through the years.

 

Dips

+35 - 7-, 7+, 6+

Was fading pretty good there at the end.

 

Ground L-Sit

15, 15, 15 sec

 

 

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I'm starting to feel the next effect of raised cals, tired.  When you are running a deficit, its like your recovery system only runs at 2/3 power.  Bring it back up to full power it'll start to take out accumulated recovery deficit.  Recovery happens when you sleep. I've been extra sleepy today, even took a nap after work, something I haven't done in a very long time.

 

I'm trying to decide what to get next for the gym; plyo box, flat bench, or adjustable bench.  Currently I have an old flat/decline bench and a cheap amazon starter adjustable bench that I've worn the fabric out on in the 3 years I've had it. 

 

The old flat/decline bench serves no purpose but be a place to sit between sets; its super old, meant to be a decline situp bench, but also has a DB rack under it, which had been its main purpose.  I used to use it for step ups at the old house, but its too short to be comfortable to use as a bench to lay on, and it doesn't have wheels to move around easy.  For some reason I've always had a thing where I don't sit on the bench or equipment I'm using between sets, so I end up on this bench for that.

 

The adjustable bench I have works, but I replaced the fabric in the top section and need to do the seat as well; its gotten used for a lot of step ups between the wife and I which have been hard on it.  The replaced fabric is an unstitched diy staple job, so while it works, it is by no means nice, with fabric bunching in the corners and staples in the underside.

 

My wife does nothing with the adjustable bench that needs an adjustable bench.  A flat bench on wheels would work just fine for her.  A flat bench is of course nicer than an adjustable bench when flat benching, so I'd use it a lot.  I do use the adjustable bench in non-flat mode for DB OHP, so I can't just replace it with a flat one though, but I can toss my old situp bench for a nice flat bench.  A plyo box would get the step ups off the benches and would in general add capability, but I wouldn't use it much at the moment, and box jumps aren't really a doable in the basement, at least higher ones.  I don't actually need a flat bench though, could just get a plyo box and then new adjustable bench eventually.  But a nice flat bench would give the best gym experience.  I could also make a wooden plyo box, but those heavy duty foam ones with wooden core seem much nicer, though they are kind of pricey.

 

Workout Log - 2.21.22

 

Stretching - 15 min

 

Pistol Squat - 5/5, 5/5

 

Deadlift

155 x 5

245 x 3

 

Minimal workout, just enough to give the muscles some work.  One of my goals is actually executing a deload, off to a good start here.

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battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

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On of the health and exercise experts I follow on twitter, professor Stewart Phillips, was talking about some research about rep schemes and load when he threw out a number that both surprised me and didn't.  10% of people do some resistance exercise regularly (3x 30 min per week I believe is the official recommendation, but he meant any at all), yet when it comes down to it basically the most beneficial thing you can do health wise at any age is regular resistance exercise, nothing else matches the magnitude of health benefits.

 

But, science coming to that conclusion about resistance exercise is a very new thing, this century even.  So few people know, and it really hasn't gotten out into culture that much, which still tends to see long cardio as the top dog when it comes to health benefits.  With my parents visiting this past weekend, its really was striking how foreign it was to them when they saw my gym.  When I was a kid we at least learned the basics of weight training in gym class and as part of sports, my parents generation predates that basic fundamental knowledge.

 

I do think this has been one of the places where Crossfit has been most beneficial, strength training for all adults has become far more accepted after the Crossfit wave passed through, as opposed to being for athletes and bodybuilders.  Though older generations missed out on this.

 

Anyways, diet break and deload are proceeding as planned.  I've been kind of tracking cals, close enough that I'm not missing either way by a lot, but not great tracking.  I'm still feeling quite sore from all the accumulated fatigue despite the lighter workouts.

 

Workout Log - 2.22.22

 

Bench Press

135 x 10

185 x 5, 5, 5

 

Ring Front Lever

Tuck Hold - 15

Tuck Row - 5, 5

Open Tuck Hold - 5

 

Ez Bar Curl - 69 x 5, 5

DB Fly - 30 x 10, 10

DB Oh Ext - 45 x 10, 10

 

Workout Log - 2.23.22

 

Spinning - 10 mi, 28:23, 154 bpm avg, 173 bpm peak

Seated stead state the whole time.

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battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

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Oof, missed posting workouts at the end of last week.  Kinda been glued to twitter this last week.   There is a resolution path possible, where its shown decisively that any attempt at war in the modern world is incredibly Pyrrhic, and we are seeing the heroic tale of humanity's last real war that will be told for millenia.  One can hope.

 

Anyways. diet break is going meh; I'm probably in a decent surplus area most days, I need to throttle that back.  I just don't have any motivation to track cals though.  Weight has been way up, over 5 lbs the last couple days.  I meant to check the tape this morning and forgot.  Weight being up is a good thing though; I've lost a pretty massive amount of LBM in the last 5 years (~7-8 lbs); hopefully I rapidly gain some back this diet break, exercise is on point for it.

 

Last week I executed a deload; I didn't do any beating of the heavy bag, I decreased set volume and max rep volume.  With one exception, DB OHP, an exercise I've only been doing a few weeks and I got my new set of rubber 60's.    Overall soreness is down a lot and I'm definitely ready to hit it hard this week.  Ideally now I'm going to get 2 good weeks of workout progress before I start cutting again.

 

Going through trying to find my old PR's has been a slow process, though I'm not really in a rush.  Most recently I found my old curling PRs (EZ bar - 89 x 8 in 2016, DB - 40x10 in 2016) and weighted chinups (270 x 4 in 2016).  Though I've changed the way I do pullups so my old PR's are pretty meaningless; loaded I always did chinup grip on my old doorway bar, and hammer chinup grip in the work gym, now I'm doing them pullup grip on a straight bar, which is pretty different.  When I used to do wide grip pullups, typically that meant I was also doing high chest to bar pullups, which just aren't a thing in my basement gym.

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battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

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Checked the tape yesterday am, 34.0", so I gained back a 1/8", some of that is likely transient.  Weight has been going down, but its still way up, 207.4 yesterday.  That's a good thing, I'm hoping to catch a couple pounds of persistent LBM gain this break (hence why 3 weeks instead of 1); regaining some of what I lost over the last few years (which is why I think it might work).  Halfway through the diet break now.

 

Workout Log - 2.28.22

 

Kickboxing - 10 min, 136 bpm avg, 158 bpm peak

I'm going to cut back the time from 20 min until my forearms are ready to handle more volume.  A week off was very good to heal up, but I'm definitely still not 100%.

 

Pistol Squat - 7+/7-, 7+/7-, 8+/8-

Same as 2 weeks ago.

 

Fingertip Pushup - 5, 5, 5

 

Deadlift

155 x 5

245 x 3

295 x 3+, 3-, 3-

Wore a belt for the last 2 sets.  I probably should have added weight vs 2 weeks ago.

 

Workout Log - 3.1.22

 

Bench Press

135 x 5

185 x 5

205 x 4+, 5+, 5+

Those last 2 sets felt really good, I was able to activate muscles to muster pressing power much better than I have been in a long time.  I think this is where the DB flys are starting to shine, I could feel the squeeze in my chest as the root of the pressing power.  I definitely could have gutted out another rep on both 5 rep sets.

 

Ring Front Lever

Tuck Hold - 15 sec

Tuck Row - 6+, 6+

Open Tuck Hold - 10, 11 sec

Added a little time to the open tuck hold, but otherwise same as 2 weeks ago.

 

EZ Bar Curl

69 x 10, 10, 9

 

DB Fly

30 x 10, 10, 10

 

DB Overhead Extension

45 x 10, 12, 11

 

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battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

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The weather has been nice the last few days, I was able to run outside on Wednesday.  The last time I ran outside was last November.  I didn't go far, 1.83 miles, nor fast 12:14/mi pace, but I was able to sustain running.  I'm in a rather hilly part of Atlanta and start on a huge steep hill, so it does take quite a bit out of you on the hills.  All the sprints on the bike over the winter seem to have kept my fitness up well enough.

 

Workout Log - 3.3.22

 

Kickboxing - 10 min, 133 bpm peak

I took it easy on this to try to avoid overdoing it on the forearms

 

Pistol Squat

BW - 8+/8-

+30 - 4-/4-

 

Front Squat

135 x 5

185 x 5+, 5-

Wore belt on 2nd 185 set.  Ran out of time or I would have done another set.

 

Fingertip Pushups/Grip Hangs  - 1 set of each

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One of the projects I've had going since around the start of the challenge has been to assemble a full set of DB's for the gym.  I used the classifieds (FB marketplace) and Dick's to finish the set of iron hex up to 50 a few weeks ago, but some of my old ones and a few of the used ones I got really needed to be refinished.  4 pairs needed refinishing; I did two a few weeks ago and the last two this weekend.  They turned out pretty awesome, better than original.  I kept the same paint (gray hammered effect paint) with silver letters, but the big thing is I used a wire brush to get all the paint out of the knurling, and just put a light coat of oil on the handles.  So nice to grip the bare steel like that.

 

Saturday night I ran outside again; 2.0 miles this time.  A little slower, around 12:30/mi pace.

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battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

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I checked the waist yesterday, 34.0", but a bit proud.  I haven't bothered to track cals at all, but I'm still checking the scale each night and being mindful about how much I'm eating.  Scale is still super high, 208.6 last night.  Hopefully it sticks when I go back to cutting, which is coming next week.  My muscles feel bigger, though I haven't done any actual measurements.

 

Workout Log - 3.7.22

 

Kickboxing - 5 min

I didn't wear my HRM this time, and time was short.  Overall my time management goal has been a bust this challenge, this is a manifestation of it.

 

Pistol Squats - 9+/9+, 9+/9-

My left is starting to catch up to the right.  Pretty big jump here from last week.  These things really carry over to overall quality of life; getting up off the floor is a normal thing to do regularly (esp when you have young kids), pistols give the strength and balance to really do so fluidly from almost any starting point.  This has been really noticeable lately, its much easier to notice rapid gain than long slow atrophy.

 

Deadlift

155 x 5

245 x 3

295 x 3-

305 x 3-

These felt surprisingly easy.  I probably should have done another set, but ran short on time.  Overall I crushed it this workout, the calories are noticeable in a good way.

 

 

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battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

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1 hour ago, Waldo said:

My left is starting to catch up to the right.  Pretty big jump here from last week.  These things really carry over to overall quality of life; getting up off the floor is a normal thing to do regularly (esp when you have young kids), pistols give the strength and balance to really do so fluidly from almost any starting point.  This has been really noticeable lately, its much easier to notice rapid gain than long slow atrophy.

 

Thanks for this observation. It is good incentive for me to keep working on them.

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Its a really crazy difference.  A year ago (30 lbs heavier) to get up off the floor I had to bring my legs to squat position to 2 legged squat up or get into a split squat position, usually with hands on something to brace the balance.    Lately I've been able to just pop right up no matter the starting position, since its gotten so easy to press out of the hole on a single leg.  And pistols do wonders for your balance.

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